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What types of damages can I receive for a car accident?

Whether you are driving around the busy streets of Cleveland or travelling on a highway in a rural area of Ohio, you can become involved in a car accident almost anytime, anywhere. While some car accidents occur because of the weather, others happen due to the careless or reckless acts of other motorists.

If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by someone else's negligence, you have likely considered your options to recover the damages you incurred. As an at-fault car insurance state, Ohio law dictates that the person responsible for the accident is liable for any damages or losses he or she caused.

Damages you can receive

As with many other states, Ohio has different classifications of the types of damages awarded in personal injury cases. These classifications are as follows:

  • Compensatory damages: As the name suggests, these damages compensate you for losses or injuries. Also known as actual damages, compensatory damages are further broken down into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages cover the actual monetary expenses you incurred, such as medical expenses, lost wages and any costs associated with repairing or replacing damaged property. Noneconomic damages cover damages such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. They are typically meant to restore your quality of life.
  • Punitive damages: If the accident was the result of someone's deliberate or unlawful actions, you may also sue for punitive damages. These types of damages are designed to punish the offender for his or her actions and hopefully prevent others from committing similar offenses.

Contributory and comparative negligence

Ohio allows you to recover damages even if the court finds you were partially responsible for the accident. Using a rule known as modified comparative negligence, the court will determine a percentage of your liability for the accident. If the court finds you were more than 50 percent responsible for your injury, you will not receive an award of damages.

Consult an attorney

As with any complex legal situation, if you wish to seek compensation following an accident that was not entirely your fault, you will need to consult with an attorney who is experienced with personal injury claims. A lawyer can analyze the specifics of your claim and advise you of your available options. If your attorney feels you have a viable case, he or she will work with you to determine the next steps and help you secure the compensation you need to get your life back on track.

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